First-year guard Joshua Ingram drives toward the basket during Lehigh men's basketball's home win against Navy on Jan. 31 at Stabler Arena. Ingram scored eight points in the first half. (Eddie Fuhrer/B&W Staff)

First-year contributions lead Lehigh men’s basketball over Navy


In the first 20 games of their collegiate careers, Lehigh men’s basketball first-year guards Joshua Ingram and Cam Gillus have risen from debutants to starters. 

The two have both seen their time on the court more than double compared to the start of the season after being propelled up the rotation by injuries to junior guard Keith Higgins and senior guard Jalin Sinclair.

Rising to the occasion on Wednesday, Ingram and Gillus combined for 26 of Lehigh’s 77 points in a comfortable 77-65 win over Navy at Stabler Arena.

Ingram and Gillus both made two 3-pointers during the game as the Mountain Hawks (7-13, 4-5 Patriot) shot a season-best 42.9% from beyond the arc. Ingram finished with 14 and Gillus had 12 by the end of the night.

Lehigh coach Brett Reed attributed the experience the two players gained during non-conference play as a reason why they’ve been able to contribute in starting roles.

“That allowed us to be a little more adaptable with some major curveballs of injuries,” Reed said. “But the fact that these first-years are getting the opportunity and stepping into it is great to see.”

Lehigh was led in scoring by junior guard Tyler Whitney-Sidney who had 17 points. On top of Gillus and Ingram in double figures, senior forward Dominic Parolin and sophomore forward Bube Momah both finished with 11.

Lehigh’s strong shooting from 3-point range helped them build out a margin against the Midshipmen (8-12, 4-5 Patriot). The Mountain Hawks took the lead with 13:15 left in the first frame after Navy jumped out to an initial 9-4 lead to start the contest. Parolin helped the Mountain Hawks out of this deficit with the first of his three first-half triples.

In total, Lehigh shot 8 for 16 from beyond the arc in the first half to Navy’s 1 for 10. 

Gillus ended the night with four assists and attributed the scoring to the Mountain Hawks ability to share the ball and get players to open spots.

“That’s something we’ve been preaching in practice,” Gillus said. “You just step into the shot with confidence and I think we did that tonight.”

Leading by eight on the final possession of the first half, a miss by junior guard Tyler Whitney-Sidney was rebounded by Parolin, who ran to the corner and sank a shot with one second left. After the make, the Mountain Hawks carried a 35-24 lead at halftime. 

The lead for Lehigh in the second half grew to 23 at its largest when the home team led 60-37 with 11:40 remaining in the second half, and kept Navy at bay until the final buzzer.

Reed said the team’s chemistry is improving with the wins and that he appreciates how much the team celebrates each other.

“I do believe that there are more guys who are more bought in, forgetting about themselves and putting what’s best for the team at the forefront,” Reed said. “ We’re less worried about people being in their feelings and more worried about productivity.”

The last time Navy and Lehigh played, Navy won 71-69 in Annapolis on the back of a 32-point outing by Navy’s sophomore guard Austin Benigni. Second in the Patriot League in scoring, Benigni was held to 5 for 13 shooting and scored 14 points. Navy’s junior forward Mitch Fischer led the team with a career-high 26.

The win moves Lehigh up into a tie with Navy for fifth place in the Patriot League at the halfway point of the season. The top four teams in the league will host games in the quarterfinal of the Patriot League tournament.

Even with two key injuries and first-years Ingram and Gillus thrown into the starting lineup, Lehigh has still found a way to win three of their last four games.

“We had a rough start and we should’ve won a couple of those games in the start of the season,” Ingram said. “But that’s behind us now.”

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